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Special council meeting on Fair Election Act

A Special Council Meeting is scheduled for 10 a.m. Monday, April 13 at the Hilo Council Chambers relating to House Bill 345 – the Fair Election Act.

Kohala Councilman Pete Hoffmann explains the act and his opinion: 

I am informed that our Council Chairman, J Yoshimoto, has called a Special Session of the County Council to consider a resolution that would reverse the Council’s approval last year to support publicly funded elections.  

As a result, the state Legislature approved and the governor signed into law the Fair Elections Act as a pilot project to publicly fund elections for Hawaii County for the next three election cycles through 2014. 

However, the state House earlier this year approved HB 345, which would suspend implementation of the Fair Elections Act, in effect halting this initiative.

Leaving aside for a minute why our state representatives would choose this course of action, it is imperative that all, who share my view that publicly funded elections should be given a chance to prove its viability here in our county, attend this special session of the council and express their rejection of this latest effort to reverse public opinion. 

It is difficult for me to understand the reasons for such a resolution against a program that has already withstood legal review by the Governor’s Office. The money to implement this initiative is already in the state coffers, it will not cost any additional funds to execute, and there has been overwhelming support on this island for the Fair Elections Act. 

The only people inconvenienced are those who are afraid that their influence peddling might be diminished or that their lobbying efforts might not be as effective. I’m not at all impressed by those arguments.

I’m discouraged to think that with so many more critical issues on our ‘plate’, the council would feel that it should revisit this topic. However, nothing prohibits this action in any manner. 

On the contrary, it should be a rallying cry for the general public to come out in force and convince with oral testimony even the most recalcitrant council member that this is an issue the public wishes to see move forward. 

This is an opportunity to minimize the adverse impacts of big money interests on local politics to the detriment of the general public. Without your participation in this discussion, the Fair Elections Act may be overturned. 

SUBMITTING TESTIMONY:

In person: You may testify in person in Hilo, or by videoconference from the Waimea or Kona council offices.

Written testimony: Testimony may be submitted:

(1) by mail to the County Clerk’s Office in Hilo at 25 Aupuni Street, Hilo, Hawaii, 96720

(2) by fax to (808) 961-8912

By e-mail: counciltestimony@co.hawaii.hi….

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